Zeke Emanuel: Census Changes Not Aimed at 'Cooking Books' on ACA

Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 04:25 PM

By Wanda Carruthers

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The administration of President Barack Obama was not aiming at "cooking the books" on Obamacare by changing Census Bureau questions in order to obscure the law's effects, said Zeke Emanuel, an architect of the healthcare law.

The explanation, he suggested, probably had more to do with a "bureaucracy run amok."

"I don't think this is cooking the books. Or, if it is cooking the books, they really screwed it up," Emanuel told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Thursday.

Story continues below video.



The Census Bureau is changing healthcare questions in its annual survey that will have the effect of making it more difficult to track the impact of Obamacare, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

The changes were reportedly made at the request of the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the implementation of the healthcare law, and the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

Emanuel maintained a better way to have handled the issue would have been to ask the original questions and the new questions "for a couple of years."

"What I would have liked to have seen is to ask actually both questions, the old question and the new question, so we would be sure what the delta, what the spread between them, are," he said.

Republicans decried the change, with some lawmakers accusing the White House of trying to mask the effects of Obamacare. The Census Bureau said the timing of the changes so close to the launch of the new law was "coincidental and unfortunate."

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